"DJIBOUTI" Djibouti by janiebaxter
Djibouti Travel Guide: 194 reviews and 1,009 photos
Djibouti is on the tip of the East coast of Africa between Eritrea and Somalia and is part of the Eastern Rift Valley. It is only one sixth the size of England and one of the smallest countries in Africa. Despite its size it has recently grown to occupy a strategic position in the area since Eritrea split from Ethiopia. As well as having a large deep water Port which handles shipping to and from Ethiopia, Djibouti has an important military presence due to its proximity to Somalia and Yemen with many international military personnel based there.
As well as being able to visit another African country, the main reason for my trip to Djibouti was to snorkel with Whale Sharks. Between October and February the plankton bloom attracts many Whale Sharks to the coast close to Djibouti town. Whale sharks can grow up to 40 feet long and are the largest fish in the world. They are totally placid and harmless, interested only in feeding on plankton. The Whale Sharks we saw in Djibouti were juveniles ranging from 8 feet to about 20 feet long. The best way to see them is to stay on a “Live-aboard” boat and take snorkelling trips as they feed very close to the surface of the water. At this time of the year if you are lucky you may see 6 to 10 Whale Sharks in one trip.
Djibouti borders the Southern Red sea close to where it meets the Indian Ocean. It is a paradise for divers and the snorkelling is excellent too. Most divers and snorkelers have not discovered the reefs and coves of Djibouti yet so the coral is in pristine condition with many types of undisturbed coral, sharks, dolphins, stingrays and huge shoals of fish of all sizes.
Inland and away from Djibouti town the scenery is not quite so pretty, unless perhaps you are a geologist. Much of Djibouti is arid, dry and desolate looking. It reminded me of the “slag heaps” that used to be a feature of old mining towns in the North of England. Much of the rock is volcanic and the only plant I saw growing was the Tamarisk tree which is found in desert and semi-desert areas.
Lac Assal is the lowest point in Africa at 153 metres below sea level. It is a vast salt lake surrounded by volcanic rock and looks quite spectacular as you drive down to it.
My trip to Djibouti was organised by UK company Regaldive
We stayed at on the MY Deli dive boat and at the Kempinski hotel
- Pros:Whale Sharks, pristine coral and great snorkelling & diving.
- Cons:Expensive, very barren and volcanic.
- In a nutshell:Better in the sea than on the land
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